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Vancouver may push province for public inquiry into money laundering


Vancouver City Council will be considering a motion to support a public inquiry into money laundering in B.C.

Coun. Christine Boyle says there needs to be an independent body to review the scope of the issue

Council will vote on the motion Feb. 12

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver could soon be adding its voice to the growing calls for a public inquiry into money laundering in B.C., something a poll this week suggests just over three-quarters of people in B.C. would support.

Coun. Christine Boyle is scheduled to put a motion forward at council meeting on Tuesday, asking that the City formally endorse a call for the provincial government to launch an inquiry into money laundering and how it has impacted Vancouver real estate, and ties between organized crime and the opioid crisis.

An RCMP report estimates $1 billion worth of property transactions in Vancouver could be connected to crime, and an estimated $1 billion a year could be laundered through underground banking networks, including casinos in B.C.

Boyle says the inquiry should be similar to Quebec’s Charbonneau Commission, a years-long public inquiry launched in 2011 into suspected widespread corruption in Quebec’s construction industry, because of the severity and scope of the problem.

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While the provincial government is currently investigating money laundering — including through the Expert Panel on Money Laundering and research by the Attorney General with Peter German — Boyle is adding to the growing call to push the investigation further.

“I think its important that we have a broad mandate for a well-resourced public inquiry so we can be sure that we’re uncovering the depth of this issue, and addressing it as adequately as Vancouverites and British Columbians deserve,” she says.

She says the impacts of money laundering on Vancouver are real, it has affected housing prices for people who live here. She adds its necessary to fully understand too, the links between organized crime, money laundering and overdose crisis; there were almost 1,500 suspected overdose deaths in B.C. in 2018 alone.

Premier John Horgan has previously said a full inquiry would be too expensive.